Rally on July 8


There will be a rally on Monday, July 8, in support of immigrants from 5-6 p.m. at the intersection of Cascade and South Main Street in River Falls. It will be peaceful, lawful and respectful. It will focus on humanitarian issues and not political ones. All are welcome!

We are especially concerned about:

• The horrible detention facilities in which hundreds if not thousands of little children are caged most of the day. Many have been locked up like this for as long as a month or more (the legal maximum time is 72 hours). They are without adequate food and water, they are cold and hungry as they sleep on the floor with bright lights on all night, they have no healthcare despite a flu epidemic, their little bodies and clothes haven't been washed for up to a month, there are no diapers for infants and toddlers and no toys or play or exercise areas for any of the children. Most traumatic of all for children who have escaped violence in their own countries and have taken a perilous and exhausting trip to the border, they have been separated from their parents,

• The photo of father Oscar Roberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month old daughter Valeria, with her arm around his neck and protected within the T-shirt he was wearing, floating face-down and dead on the shore of the Rio Grande. (Immigrants struggle to get through non-portals such as these because current White House policy forces them to wait for months, either in detention facilities or back across the border in unsafe and squalid conditions, before processing them as asylum-seekers.)

• The on-again off-again promise of mass raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants already in our country, with no thought to how these parents and children who will be left at school, day care, at home, or on the streets, will be cared for.

• Keeping family-based and diversity-based immigration policies in place (currently opposed by the White House).

We believe the needed immediate response is to greatly expand humanitarian assistance to these immigrants, and to increase resources for asylum-judges and facilities at the border to speed up asylum claims.

If you wish, you can contact our Sen. Ron Johnson, who is on the Senate Committee for Homeland Defense (including immigration) and ask for these resources. (www.senate.gov, 202-


Rev. Janet Ellinger, River Falls

Krista Spieler

Lou Drecktah

Dustin Koski

Maureen Ash

Rev. Barb de Souza

Julia Persico

Paula Lugar

Vicki Cobian

Ann Cody

'I am Saul Allinsky!'


D. M. Okeefe was right in her column (June 27, 2019),"It started during the Obama administration..." It sure did! And, obviously, the Right Wing will continue to employ the tactic of "Oh my God, it's Saul Alinsky!" I bet that he gave little thought in anticipation of becoming the poster-boy-demon so needed by the Right to gin-up fear and the sense of "other."With that name of his, "Saul Alinsky," and his calling card of radical, organizer, and Jew, I guess that Middle America is supposed to cringe and tremble in abject trepidation: at least, "Alinsky" makes

Trump look good, right?

On the other hand, here's Alinsky straight from his classic Rules for Radicals:

"Believing in people, the radical has the job of organizing them so that they will have the power and opportunity to best meet each unforeseeable future crisis as they move ahead in their eternal search for those values of equality, justice, freedom, peace, a deep concern for the preciousness of human life, and all those rights and values propounded by Judaeo-Christianity and the democratic political tradition. Democracy is not an end but the best means toward achieving these values. This is my credo for which I live and, if need be, die."

Using Saul Alinsky to justify Donald Trump is goofy, but pretending that lies don't matter is obscene. Justifying policies of children in Trump Camps is un-American. Allowing a serial sexual harasser of women to represent our country is gross. Witnessing a wilfill ignorance of science to rape, exploit for endless profit, and endanger the well-being of an entire planet and the lives of my children is intolerable.

As in the conclusion to the movie "Spartacus," I proudly stand and say,"I am Saul Alinsky!"

Robert Daniel Smith

River Falls

Soul searching needed


According to new analysis of data obtained by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Wisconsin has the FIFTH most sex offenders per capita as compared to the other 45 states. Put another way, Wisconsin is among the leaders of states with the most sex offenders in the nation.

As a mother with kids, I feel this statistic in the pit of my stomach. Few would disagree with the seriousness and irreparable level of trauma and harm that comes with sexual assault. Spend any amount of time on social media and the sentiment that sexual predators should hang from trees is alive and well in Wisconsin. So, what gives?

My two cents, for whatever it's worth: it's a combination of two things. One, our state's very liberal and reckless culture on alcohol, and two, the shockingly softball approach we take to policing, prosecuting and sentencing sexual predators. Every time we reduce a felony rape to a misdemeanor for probation, diversion or a fine, instead of sending a message that acting on inappropriate sexual power and control urges will quite literally ruin your life, we say "meh, it's not so bad." Every time we tell a rape survivor she has to co-parent with her rapist, we send a powerful message implicitly condoning sexual assault as not really such a big deal. We substitute inconvenience for sexual predators rather than game changing consequences that ensure that they never hurt anyone else again.

Diamonds aren't created through easy conditions. No one changes for the better or faces their demons, that of which they're ashamed because it's fun, easy or convenient. By not being stronger on sexual assault from our laws down to their enforcement we create a scenario by which the path of least resistance for someone inclined to sexually assault is to do nothing until eventually they act on it.

Wisconsin's culture on alcohol is the kerosene to the flame.

Option 1: continue on with a sense of learned helplessness, throw up our hands and falsely believe that's just the way life has to be.

Option 2: demand better from our elected officials, look to other states that have grown past these problems and learn, be willing to try something else. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. We're better than this.

Sarah Yacoub


Stop trying to re-write history


I really hate writing these letters but, GOOD LORD, Okeefe's propaganda column was too much, AGAIN!

I do hold the newspaper partially responsible because they give her an oversized prominent place in the paper. I still have not seen that her piece shows "in-depth research, first-hand perspective, or shares some expertise in the field," unless "first-hand perspective" means prominent display of bias.

There was just too much regurgitated fiction (15 items in the first two paragraphs) to counter in my 350-word allotment, so let me focus on just one item, "Obamaphones." When she used the word "Obamaphones" she was trying to blame President Obama for giving poor people a phone so they could communicate with the rest of the world in order to, for instance, apply for a job or get a return call from a potential employer, or report an emergency or make a doctor's appointment, among other things.

The following information is easily accessible on the Internet:

Giving poor people phones did not originate with Obama. The idea of subsidizing phone service for the poor started with Ronald Reagan. The national cell phone program was started under George W. Bush.

The federal program subsidizes companies who provide services to low-income consumers. The Federal Communication Commission implemented the Lifeline benefit program in 1984. SafeLink Wireless, the first Lifeline benefit provider of cellular services, was launched by TracFone in 2008 during the George W. Bush administration.

The Lifeline program only discounts service and does not provide cell phones, but some companies do offer free cell phones on their own.

The program is not funded directly by taxpayers. It is paid for by the federal Universal Service Fund through a fee assessment against telecommunication service providers. This fee can be passed on to consumers.

Therefore, perhaps these phones should be called "Reaganphones," not "Obamaphones." It seems to me that Okeefe's column is pure propaganda and should be labeled as such in the


Cheryl Maplethorpe

Town of Clifton

Demonization of immigrants must end


In the past two weeks we've experienced the double shock of 1) learning of the inhumane, abusive conditions immigrant children have suffered in our southern border detention centers, and 2) the heartbreaking photos of the drowned bodies of El Salvadoran refugee Óscar Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria washed up near the shore of the Rio Grande near Brownsville, Texas.

These revelations have stirred the conscience of many who were formerly silent and are now speaking out. The exposure of conditions in the Clint, Texas, children's facility and the image of Valeria and her father challenge who we think we are, who we say we are as Americans. We wonder how we could have gone so far down this road of throwing away our neighbors to the south.

Recently the president has threatened the mass deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. With our existing detention centers already obviously strained beyond their capacity to decently accommodate the thousands now in custody, how would we handle millions? It would take an operation on the scale of Nazi Germany's interment of the Jews and other minorities to execute such a deeply immoral plan. Are we willing to go that far? Is that who we are?

It's time for people of conscience across the political spectrum to speak up for basic human decency and end the persecution of those fleeing in desperation from crime and poverty to find a safer and better life with us. The demonization of refugees and immigrants must end.

Our national poet, Walt Whitman said, "Whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral, dressed in his shroud." We might think of the damage we've done to our own moral well-being in withholding life-saving human sympathy from others.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

How about all the children?


In last week's edition of the Journal, letters from a Reverend and a self-proclaimed Christian both breathlessly bemoaned the plight of immigrant children at our nation's southern border. I feel bad for them too. I'd bet nary a one asked to be dragged across the desert in the summer.

Glaringly absent from their outrage were the children that are being intentionally killed inside their mother's womb. Where is the wailing and gnashing of teeth for the plight of these children?

In my mind, selective Christianity based on your politics is not really true Christianity at all.

Bill Feiler

River Falls

Swinging Bridge mistake


Walking the historic Swinging Bridge into River Falls Glen Park last week I experienced a shock. City workers installed 10 inches of lumber that obscures the view of the Kinni on both sides. I spoke with the workers and with Mayor Dan and learned there is some requirement to elevate the railing to prevent bikers (like me or Billy Joe MacAllister?) from pitching over the railing into turbulent waters below.

OK, I get that, but solid lumber? Please, get whoever designed it fix this mistake.

Wanda Brown

River Falls



STOP IT! The inanity of the two letter writers last week is palpable! Do they have any clue about what LAWFUL means? We are a nation built on LAWS! If you break a law, there are consequences! If you rob a bank or kill someone or write bad checks, you will experience some type of consequence. If you enter a country ILLEGALLY, you could experience any of the following: hard labor (North Korea), indefinite detention (Iran), jailed (Saudi Arabia and Cuba), jailed for two years (Mexico) and at minimal, be deported.

The ignorance displayed in these editorials is irresponsible. The US is a sovereign nation, a republic established to be FREE, self-ruling and self-determining. Our Founding Fathers did not intend for our country to be overrun with uncontrolled illegal INVADERS/INTRUDERS. If you are not here LEGALLY, then you are ILLEGAL!

This country welcomes LEGALLY applying immigrants with open arms, but there are guidelines that stipulate WHO can come in and HOW they must come in. And contrary to communist democratic ideology, locational proximity does NOT give them a right to CUT in front of others-UNFAIR! What is heartening is that there are individuals who actually come to our country the RIGHT way-LEGALLY. Those are the people you WANT to have immigrating to any country! They adhere to and respect the laws and the people. Common sense dictates that there be criteria by which you allow people to immigrate: educational reasons, employment (distinct skill set so that they can support themselves and their family), escape persecution/poverty (still with the idea that they are able to support themselves), worship freely, et al. When the process is legally adhered to then each person is vetted.

If bringing others to our country is important to you, why don't you work for or volunteer your time and skills working with organizations that work through ethical and legal channels to help LEGAL immigrants come to this country?

And DO call your elected officials-tell them to approve the funds for the wall so people don't die.

Tonya L. Merrill

Township of Clifton